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Treat laminitis in horses with vital mushrooms

Possible causes are also to be found in the feeding

July 27, 2021
Petra Remsing – veterinary practitioner

Laminitis is a non-infectious inflammation of the hoof corium, i.e. the corium platelets in the area of the toe wall. All breeds of horses can become ill, but heavy cold-blooded breeds, ponies and small horses are particularly at risk.

The most common trigger of laminitis is the excessive intake of carbohydrate-rich feeds with a high fructan content. These include young pasture grass and starchy cereals such as wheat, corn, barley or rye.

Digestion of carbohydrates in the horse

Carbohydrate digestion in the horse starts in the glandless stomach. Enzymes and microorganisms begin the fermentation process. This requires an alkaline pH value, which is created by thorough insalivation with the appropriate chewing duration. Insufficient insalivation increases the retention time in the stomach and delays the ph-value reduction.

The final digestion of proteins and carbohydrates takes place in the duodenum by the enzymes of the pancreas and bile. If the proportion of starchy concentrate or high fructan content is too high, the digestive juices are no longer sufficient to completely digest the high amounts of carbohydrates and protein. These then enter the appendix undigested alongside cellulose and lead to faulty fermentation.

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Lack of blood circulation due to toxins

There is a proliferation of lactic acid-producing microorganisms, volatile fatty acids in the colon, and a drop in pH. The pH drop damages the intestinal mucosa. As a result of the acidification of the colon, cellulose-splitting bacteria die off more frequently. This releases toxins that pass through the pre-damaged intestinal mucosa into the bloodstream. These toxins lead to inflammation at the coffin bone support. Some of these toxins have a vasoconstrictive effect.

The vasoconstriction leads to circulatory disturbances of the hoof corium and consequently to tissue destruction in the area of the toe wall, the lateral wall and the sole body. The interlocking of the coffin bone with the horn capsule loosens or, in severe cases, detaches. This results in rotation or subsidence of the coffin bone to the point of sole breakage. In these cases, a cure is difficult or no longer possible.

Causes of the acute and chronic form

A distinction is made between acute and chronic laminitis. Triggers of acute laminitis are one-time feeding derailments, medication administration, worming, poisoning, stress or postpartum retention, i.e. natal laminitis.

Chronic laminitis results from long-term incorrect feeding and subsequent derailment of the hormonal system. It is a consequence of Equine Metabolic Syndrome or Equine Cushing’s Syndrome.

In addition to hormonal laminitis, laminitis can also be triggered mechanically. Endotoxins play no role here. Stress-induced laminitis is caused by long periods of walking or standing on hard ground, as in the case of carriage horses, but also by overloading one leg while the other leg is in a protective position. Overloading results in reduced blood flow and insufficient oxygen supply to the hoof region, leading to destruction of the coffin bone support.

Each animal is unique!

Our experienced team will be happy to advise you in detail and free of charge on all matters relating to the health of your pet:

Symptoms of the disease

Laminitis is manifested by lameness. Affected animals push the front legs forward and the hind legs under the belly. When running, the heels are predominantly loaded. The affected hooves are markedly warmed to hot and the hoof arteries show increased pulsation. Predominantly the front legs are affected.

Acute laminitis is an emergency! In the acute phase of laminitis, the hooves should be cooled for several hours. The concentration of toxins in the blood can be significantly reduced by leech treatment.

Medicinal mushrooms for the prevention and therapy of laminitis

Auricularia - the most important basic fungus for laminitis

Auricularia is one of the most important mushrooms for laminitis. Due to its high content of adenosine, it has vasodilatory, circulatory and analgesic effects. Its intake increases the flow of bile. This results in increased excretion of toxins and relief of the liver. With sufficient bile flow, the pH level in the intestine increases, leading to improved digestion of carbohydrates. Auricularia should not be given together with heparin. However, simultaneous administration of Auricularia and acetylsalicylic acid is possible.

Reishi has a cortisone-like effect

Another important mushroom is the reishi. Due to its high content of triterpenes, it has an anti-inflammatory and cortisone-like effect. Like Auricularia, it is vasodilator, blood circulation stimulant and analgesic. It also improves oxygen supply in the body, liver function and increases bile flow.

Shiitake improves liver function

Reishi is given with shiitake for laminitis. In combination, the analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect increases. Shiitake improves the function of the liver and has an antibacterial effect on intestinal malabsorption. However, the growth of probiotic microorganisms is not affected. Thus, it is ideally suited for the treatment of bacterial and fungal colonization in the intestine.

The vital mushroom Hericium

In cases of feeding, childbirth or poisoning deer, Hericium regenerates the mucous membranes of the digestive tract and has an anti-inflammatory effect in these areas.

Pleurotus - important fungus for intestinal health

Pleurotus rebalances the intestinal bacteria. It nourishes and colonizes the intestinal mucosa. It is also anti-inflammatory, vasodilator and improves liver function.

The dosage of vital mushrooms in horses is usually lower than in other animals and humans. In addition, in laminitis, the creep-in phase can be shortened.
You can obtain detailed information on administration free of charge from our veterinary practitioners at +49 40 334686-370

For mushroom powders there are many suppliers

You will find trustworthy suppliers with controlled organic cultivation in Germany, but unfortunately also less recommendable importers of cheap goods. Read what is important when buying.

Note: The described effects are based on the intake of medicinal mushroom powder prepared from the whole mushroom. Please consult your pet therapist before use.


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